“The point I want to make is that we need to create a new collective imagination about who an artist is. Artist is people, period”
At least that’s what I thought until recently. But the fact is that today I recognize the creative artist and creator that I am. I don’t know exactly when I realized this, but I think it’s normal, right?
Trust is built little by little, sometimes it comes from the inside out, as we do things we are proud of. For others it appears from the outside in, when the world recognizes our deeds.
But the question is, why didn’t I want to recognize myself in this place? This comes from very early on and the reasons were built in a domino effect. I don’t come from a family of musicians, actors, filmmakers or writers.
The art that my family practiced very well was the art of undertaking to survive. So, in my cycle of close people, I didn’t know people who recognized themselves as artists. Later, educated by television, I learned that the great and recognized singers, actors, composers, writers and authors were, for the most part, white men and women, rare exceptions.
Entering adult life, when I started to consume and become more and more interested in cinema, then it broke for good! At this point, I came to believe that only geniuses, super-intellectuals, and the rich could be filmmakers.
My favorite directors spoke in a way I couldn’t speak. They were eccentric, authoritarian, obsessed with their own work, and these were the guys who won over the public, the critics, packed movie theaters, walked red carpets, gave interviews to The New York Times.
But what about me, how could I fit into the same category as these people so far away from me? I started to work with audiovisual, in production, with more bureaucratic and rational things, but, as time went by, the work became progressively more creative, and behold, from experiences to experiences, I became a director.
I’ve made a futuristic short film, award-winning documentary, pop diva music video, series and many advertisements. But, even having accomplished all this, I was still afraid to answer that I am an artist when asked about my profession.
I preferred to think of my work as more technical than artistic, because, in my tough little head, that caused less pressure than not being the genius I quoted a few lines above.
But, as I also mentioned, trust is built little by little.
Meeting people, people I admired and others I came to admire, I began to realize that those who build these works of art that we love are as many people as we are.
Yes, some have impressive abilities that seem to come from the factory, but those are rarer than we might think. The overwhelming majority have the privilege of opportunity or resilience (or both at the same time).
The point I want to make is that we need to create a new collective imagination about who an artist is. Artist is people, period.
The most important part of my creative process is real life, listening to conversations on the subway, watching teenagers coming home from school, listening to stories from my family, bar conversations, in other words, all those ordinary things, without any eccentricity or obsession.
I would even venture to say that working from the simple everyday is what makes my work increasingly complex, both conceptually and aesthetically.
Now I propose that you erase from your mind this crazy man, megaphone in hand, sitting in his career as king director/dictator.
That’s why I chose this photo to illustrate this text. For you to remember me when you think of the figure of a filmmaker…
Yeah, I’m an artist!
Thati Almeida is stage director at Magma